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Director of Automation

Location:3200 Fruit Ridge Ave, Walker, MI 49544

Who We Are:

Challenge’s mission is to manufacture with operational excellence by empowering our employee-owners. As a leading tier 1 supplier of complex metal assemblies for the global automotive industry, we drive innovative solutions for future mobility. We believe the best ideas come from individual unique perspectives. These ideas combined with the teamwork of industry leaders allow us to accomplish any challenge. Our team members take pride in the work we do and embody our core values of safety, ownership, and teamwork every day; they are the true driving force in our operations.

Challenge is proud to be one of the largest employee-owned automotive companies in North America. One of the many benefits of joining the Challenge team is the ESOP program. This program allows Challenge to give shares of the Company to all employee-owners annually. These shares are an additional retirement benefit that will continue to grow during your time at Challenge. Being part of an ESOP means our employee-owners share in Challenge’s success!

Challenge is #QualityDriven and #PeoplePowered!

Who We Want:

The Director of Automation will be responsible for helping define and update the long-term technology roadmap of the company and leading a talented group of engineers across hardware and software disciplines to develop and design automation solutions. This role will be responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) within our existing and future operations. This leader will influence and direct the overall assessment, maintenance, and upgrading of the current automation and control infrastructure. He or She will combine fundamental controls and process engineering knowledge with recent advances in automation to deliver creative solutions that solve real-world manufacturing problems. This person will work to locate external emerging and novel technologies and vet their performance to solve business needs.

What You'll Do:

  • Review vendor automation systems specifications / scope documentation and validate systems design with Integrator
  • Standardize automation systems
  • Initiate and lead automation systems obsolescence conversions
  • Create, automation sequence of operation, process flow diagram, and ensure design meets requirement
  • Design/overview system layouts, schematics, and control devices
  • Drives the right technology choices for automation and presents the technology roadmap for both immediate and long-term growth
  • Combines deep process engineering understanding and machine learning capability to create scalable controls and manufacturing solutions
  • Takes the business problems and derives to a technology solution that may encompass one or more products and services, ensuring it aligns with business objectives and fits into the technology roadmap of the organization
  • Responsible for the development of the standard software and hardware architecture(s) for all automation projects and will work with multiple teams for coordinated implementation
  • Develops and implements the manufacturing vision, strategy/technology roadmap that supports the convergence of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
  • Mobilize leadership to develop and prioritize digital transformation roadmap across functions (Operations, R&D, Quality, Planning, and Logistics)
  • Lead and drive implementation of Industry 4.0 / IIoT solutions including taking the lead on technical design, development, and validation of a variety of IIoT proof-of-concept use-cases
  • Manage automation group, process control, manufacturing execution system (MES) and resources according to corporate strategies, standards and specifications.
  • Continuously improve the operation, driving innovation, including the utilization of new technology and automation with effective utilization of capital and return on investment
  • Develop strategic operating procedures that support business objectives and evaluate new or improved operating methods, technology, equipment, facility design, and layout
  • Exhibit leadership qualities that move the business forward through the collective talents and efforts of self and others
  • Demonstrate data as strategic asset within respective business functions
  • Coordinate and prioritize digitalization initiatives across the operations business

When and Where:

This will be a 830AM-5PM M-F position located at our Corporate Office in Walker, MI.

What You Need to Have:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree; or related experience or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • 5+ years of experience in manufacturing industries with a strong focus on automation and controls design
  • BSME with 10 years of industry and engineering experience preferred
  • 5 years of minimum experience in engineering management preferred
  • Experience in development of distributed, networked control systems, especially Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions
  • Lean or six sigma experiences (green or black belt certified preferred)
  • Knowledge of engineering principles and techniques related to automotive assembly or joining
  • Ability to apply sound engineering principles to operational and design issues
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, organizational planning, teamwork, analytical reasoning, and adaptability
  • Must be able to travel up to 30% of the time
  • Ability to work well with others in fast paced, dynamic environment
  • Ability to be respectful, approachable and team oriented while building strong working relationships and a positive work environment
  • Has high standards of performance for self
  • Takes responsibility for actions, results, and mistakes
  • Is thorough, accurate, and reliable when performing and completing job tasks; demonstrates honesty and integrity in all aspects of work
  • Takes positive action to objectively resolve conflict by listening, staying focused on issue to find resolution, and monitoring progress
  • Maintains positive relationships by constructively resolving conflicts
  • Uses feedback from others to continuously improve performance and work relationships
  • Moves within own and/or other work areas (flexes) to support plant flow
  • Works with sense of urgency to meet needs of customers
  • Has necessary experience, skills, and knowledge to perform all aspects of job; rotates through all job responsibilities
  • Maintains knowledge and skills to perform job effectively
  • Has ability to focus on benefits of change and see it as positive; approaches change or newness in constructive/objective manner; views change as learning opportunity
  • Looks for good in others; works collaboratively with others; shares information and knowledge
  • Leads by example in all aspects of the job

What We Offer:

We offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, Health Savings Account with annual employer contributions, Flexible Spending Accounts, company-paid Short-Term Disability and Basic Life, Voluntary Life and LTD, Employer 401k Match, ESOP shares, tuition reimbursement, Referral Bonus Program, Challenge Incentive Program, and paid time off.

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.